Globally Local is officially the world’s first vegan fast-food chain to go public. The Canadian company will begin publicly trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) Venture Exchange under the symbol GBLY starting Friday.
It’s now one of the first vegan brands to have a presence on the TSX. The TSX and its Venture Exchange constitute the eighth largest stock market in the world based on market capitalization and the third-largest in North America.
A Vegan Fast-Food Chain Goes Public
There are currently three Globally Local locations in Ontario, Canada. Another six are slated to open in the coming months. Additionally, the prolific chain has plans to open at least 20 more locations across North America within the next year. This includes at least one U.S. outpost before the end of 2021.
Rather than an IPO, Globally Local entered an agreement with Black Lion Capital Corp., a capital pool corporation listed on the TSXV to consolidate as Globally Local Technologies Inc.
“Being a publicly-traded company represents a hope for the future. It means there is a future where companies exist to make the world a better place instead of just destroying it,” Globally Local CEO and cofounder James McInnes told LIVEKINDLY exclusively via email. “We have gone so long supporting companies that are destroying the planet, and the shift is now happening where companies like us are existing to repair the world.”
Globally Local also boasts early investors including musician Tony Kanal of the band No Doubt. He told LIVEKINDLY exclusively that he views the chain as “the future of fast food.”
He added: “It’s a mainstream, affordable, healthier, humane alternative to conventional fast-food chains, which have proliferated in low-income communities and communities of color in particular. I’m stoked that someday we’ll see vegan fast food taking over cities all over the world.”
Globally Local’s Vegan History
Globally Local co-founders James and Vasiliki McInnes opened the first outpost in 2016. Their goal was to be superior to animal-based fast food in taste, nutrition, and affordability.
“Our menu is focused on vegan versions of iconic fast food. This includes breakfast sandwiches, iconic burgers, tacos, loaded fries, shakes and sundaes,” James told LIVEKINDLY. “We make all of our food from scratch using simple plant-based ingredients such as tempeh, tofu, chickpeas, oats, seitan, coconut milk, etc. This gives customers a completely unique food experience that they won’t find anywhere else.”
Two years later, the company was able to open its food manufacturing facility. This allowed it to control key parts of the supply chain and keep menu prices competitive with conventional fast-food options. “Most important of all is that our prices are equal to other major fast–food chains, which makes our food accessible and affordable to more people,” James added.
Each Globally Local restaurant operates as compact smart kitchens, which facilitate a primarily takeout and delivery business. This advanced design uses modern on-demand cooking technology for a consistent food experience, quick service, low costs, and simplified employee training.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has made it extremely difficult for many restaurants to stay afloat. But, Globally Local has thrived thanks to creative measures that are already part of its business model. These include online ordering, self-checkout kiosks, and cashless transactions.
“Our team has spent five years developing an advanced fast-food restaurant concept and vertically integrated supply chain which, combined together, will revolutionize the fast-food industry,” James said in a press release.
He added that the chain’s “smart kitchens” will soon deploy automation technology to further enhance efficiency. Additionally, this will make prices “more affordable than traditional fast food.”
The Vegan Fast-Food Boom
Globally Local is part of a growing array of vegan fast-food options worldwide. Other vegan fast-food chains include Veggie Grill and Copper branch, which have 36 and 45 locations, respetively.
Noted vegan chef Mathew Kenney recently announced that he’s turning a former Del Taco location in Costa Mesa, California, into a vegan drive-thru.
The plant-based spot, called VEG’D, will focus on vegan fast-food dishes such as plant-based burgers and smoothies. VEG’D is slated to open in May.
And there are even big moves happening on the traditional fast-food front, both across the United States and internationally. Last month, McDonald’s locations in China—specifically Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen—launched a vegetarian menu that revolves around plant-based pork. Back in October, McDonald’s locations in Hong Kong and Macau unveiled a similar menu.
Additionally, the Golden Arches began testing its vegetarian McPlant burger in Denmark and Sweden in January. The McPlant was trialed in Sweden until March 15 and is slated to remain in Denmark until April 12.
McDonald’s was one of several fast-food chains that partnered with Beyond Meat in February to expand its plant-based menu offerings. Beyond Meat will be the chain’s preferred supplier of its McPlant patty for at least the next three years. Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC are also part of the partnership.